Participatory management is the practice of empowering members of a group, such as employees of a company or citizens of a community, to participate in organizational decision making. It is used as an alternative to traditional vertical management structures, which has shown to be less effective as participants are growing less interested in their leader’s expectations due to a lack of recognition of the participant’s effort or opinion.
Generally, participatory management theory assumes that employees prefer to affect their work by playing a role in making decisions about their work. So, by the means of participatory management, it is tried to balance the involvement of both superiors and subordinates in information-sharing, problem-saving and decision making. Most authors agree that conferring greater decision-making authority and responsibility to front-line employees is the essence of participatory management, so they, too, have some involvement in the control and coordination of the basic activities and functions of the enterprise. “Participatory management typically requires greater sharing of information, rewards, and power with front-line employees, as well as considerably greater investment in training”.
It is indicated that participative management is one of the most important as well as most widely utilized strategies for developing organizations which emphasizes employee development believes that participatory groups are more than putting individuals in groups, it needs not only physical presence but also mental involvement of them. The theme of participative management involves employees’ ability, skill and interest in business decision making. Participatory management is characterized as a style under which managers have complete trust in subordinates, and much of the decision making is accomplished by group participation.

The scope of participative style of management certainly depends on the organization, its nature, functions and processes. Though associating employees at every stage of decision-making is not possible still regular exchange of information, ideas, consultations, thoughts, decisions and negotiations between employer and the employees definitely is a boon to the organization. Few of the world’s biggest organizations like Toyota, HSBC, British Airways, Satyam, British Gas and Nokia Cellular have achieved considerable profits and value creation by implementing the most amazing ideas of their employees. Their success witnesses the importance of workers’ participation in the process of decision making.
The scope of workers’ involvement in managerial decision-making may extend to social, economic and personnel decision making depending upon the requirements of the organization. But there is a difference of opinion about the extent to which employees can participate in the managerial decision-making process. Should they be equal partners and make joint decisions or should workers be given opportunities through their seniors to come up with the ideas. The first school of thought favours the actual participation of workers while the second school of thought suggests the consultation of workers in managerial decision making. It is up to the management to decide which style it prefers and till what extent it requires the involvement of employees.
To understand how these three groups of managerial decision-making can affect any industrial establishment:
§ Social Decision-Making: It refers to employee involvement in decision making regarding hours of work, rules and regulations at the workplace, welfare measures, workers’ safety, employee welfare, health and sanitation. In this category, employees have a say in decisions in these areas. They may take an advantage of their liberty and sometimes, can dominate the management. Here the concept of bounded or restricted participation can work well.
§ Economic/Financial Decision-Making: It includes involvement of employees in various financial or economic aspects such as the methods of manufacturing, cost-cutting, automation, shut-down, mergers and acquisition and lay-offs. Inviting ideas from employees on various issues like how to cut down the operating cost can work wonders.
§ Personnel Decision-Making: The employees’ participation in personnel decision-making refers to their involvement in various management processes including recruitment and selection, work distribution, promotions, demotions and transfers, grievance handling, settlements, voluntary retirement schemes and so on. Participation of employees in these processes can safeguard their interests and motivate them to work hard for the betterment of themselves as well as the organization.
Employee participation in decision-making process is beneficial. However, there may be some limits on it to ensure that they do not take advantage of their liberty and right of participation. There are several ways through which employees can participate in the whole process. Some of them are financial participation, participation through collective bargaining, participation at the board level, participation through ownership, participation through work councils and committees and participation through suggestion schemes. Any one of these ways or processes can be adopted by the management to ensure participation from workers.

Two theoretical models are widely used to explain the effect of the participative leadership behaviour of superiors on subordinates’ work performance. The motivational model and the exchange based model. “Recognizing the mechanisms by which participative leadership influences performance will help practitioners better design training and development programs aimed at enhancing participative management”. The motivational model states that employees through participating in decision making are provided with greater rewards from work. Therefore, they try to improve their work performance by higher levels of psychological empowerment. The exchange-based model implies that since participative leadership behaviour means more respect and concern for the subordinate and higher level of trust in the superior, the subordinates are likely to reciprocate their superiors by exhibiting a higher level of work performance. Usually, it is said that motivational mechanisms is for managerial subordinates (middle managers who have both superiors and subordinates) and exchange-based mechanisms for non-managerial subordinates (employees who have supervisors, but no subordinates).
The effect of participative management has two dimensions:” tangible means productivity, quality of product, turnover rate, absenteeism rate and labour-management dispute rate and intangible includes work morale, organizational climate, employee motivation and job satisfaction”.
Some of the positive effects of participative management are as followed:
Increasing the degree of “we” feeling or cohesiveness in the organization;
Providing the participants with an overall organizational point of view
Decreasing the amount of conflict, hostility, and cut throat competition among the participants;
Increasing the individuals’ understanding of each other leads to increased tolerance and patience toward others;
Increasing the individual’s free expression of his personality
Developing more innovative and creative work climate (Press 2010).
Participative management practices are popular motivational techniques, along with appraisal and incentive systems, for improving employee performance.
Some negative effects of employees’ participation are mentioned by some researchers. Reducing the controlling power of the manager, which leads to decrease in the speed of decision making process and increases costs, is one of the main results of participation. In addition, making wrong decisions because of the lack the experience and knowledge of management of employees can be another problem. Group problem solving and conflicts in the group because of different interests in individuals in the group are also the key issues. The organizational situations, however, may either strengthen or restrict the effects of participation.

You can also download the file, the link is given below



Download here


Meaning and Concept of Worker's (Participation in Management)

Download here


Participative Management – The Conceptual Framework

Download here



Download here


Workers’ Participation in Management

Download here


Employee participation in India

Download here


Workers' Participation in Management by S D Punekar

Download here



Download here


Workers participation in Management

Download here


Workers‟ Participation in Management in India by Supriya

Download here

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post